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Beijing's Olympic stadiums are wasting away


The National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest, is seen prior to the start of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 2, 2008 in Beijing, China.


Quinn Rooney

We may have to add China to the list of Olympic hosts that got a raw deal.

Most of the $3-billion in new stadiums, renovations and training centers prepared for the 2008 games are empty and losing money, according to Caixin's Wang Yuqian.

Some highlights from Caixin:

  • Only a third of major sports venues nationwide break even.
  • The rest of them lost $44 million in 2010 alone.
  • Beijing's famous Bird's Nest hosted only 12 events last year. Through the winter the $500-million venue served as a skating rink.
  • Tourist visits to the Bird's Nest and Beijing Water Cube have steadily declined since the Olympics.

The true value of the Beijing Olympics has been hard to determine because of the global financial crisis that followed it. But it's starting to look more like Athens than Barcelona.

Of course in China's case this is only part of a pattern that includes excessive new construction of bridges, roads and cultural centers as well as entire cities.

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